Hurricane Beryl Strengthens to Catastrophic Category 4, Threatens Caribbean

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Hurricane Beryl intensifies to Category 4, posing a catastrophic threat to the Caribbean. Stay informed on its impact and safety measures

Beryl Becomes Earliest Category 4 Hurricane in Atlantic History

 

Hurricane Beryl Strengthens to Catastrophic Category 4, Threatens Caribbean

Beryl, the first hurricane of the 2024 Atlantic season, intensified to an extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph Sunday morning, making its way toward the Windward Islands. This early season storm has set records, becoming the earliest Category 4 hurricane on record in the Atlantic Ocean and the only such storm ever recorded in June.

 

Tropical storm-force winds are expected to reach the Windward Islands late Sunday or early Monday. The early timing of this season’s first hurricane is unusual, given that the average date for the first hurricane is August 11. As of 2 p.m. ET, Beryl was about 310 miles east-southeast of Barbados, heading west.

 

A satellite image of Tropical Storm Beryl, provided by NOAA, captured at 19:27 UTC on Saturday, June 29, shows the formidable storm. “A life-threatening storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 6 to 9 feet above normal tide levels in areas of onshore flow near where the eye makes landfall in the hurricane warning area,” the National Hurricane Center stated, adding that the surge could bring large and destructive waves near the coast.

 

The hurricane has strengthened quickly, increasing by 55 mph in the 24 hours before Sunday morning. “We’re forecasting rapid intensification and expecting Beryl to become a major hurricane before it reaches places like Barbados and the Windward Islands and continue to be a powerful hurricane as it moves into the eastern and central Caribbean as we go into the early portions of next week,” hurricane center Director Mike Brennan told CNN’s Fredricka Whitfield on Saturday. Rapid intensification is defined as an increase in maximum sustained wind speed of 35 mph or more in a 24-hour period.

 

Residents in Barbados and other islands in the hurricane warning area are preparing for the potential impact of Beryl, which could be felt as early as Sunday evening. Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley of Barbados urged all non-essential businesses on the island to close by 8:30 p.m. Sunday. The center of Beryl is expected to pass about 75 miles south of Barbados early Monday morning, bringing hurricane-force winds, heavy rainfall, flash flooding, and severe thunderstorm activity.

 

“The reality is that we do not want to put anybody’s life at risk in this country,” Mottley emphasized in a video message Saturday night. She also noted that Barbados is hosting cricket fans from around the globe for the T20 World Cup, urging residents to support those unfamiliar with hurricanes and to continue making preparations.

 

In Saint Lucia, Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre announced a national shutdown starting at 8:30 p.m. Sunday, with businesses and schools to remain closed on Monday. “I encourage everyone to secure their property, identify and check on the vulnerable in your community, and ensure that you have the necessary essentials to weather the approaching system,” Pierre stated.

 

Beryl is the earliest major hurricane—defined as Category 3 or higher—in the Atlantic in 58 years. Its rapid intensification is highly unusual this early in the hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30. It is now the Atlantic Ocean’s third-earliest major hurricane, behind Hurricane Alma on June 8, 1996, and Hurricane Audrey on June 27, 1957.

 

The storm has set a record for the easternmost hurricane to form in the Tropical Atlantic in June, surpassing a record set in 1933. Warmer-than-usual ocean temperatures and a lack of wind shear due to the transition from El Niño to La Niña conditions have fueled Beryl's development. “Beryl has found an environment with very warm ocean waters for this time of year,” Brennan explained.

 

Authorities in Barbados and other Caribbean nations under hurricane watches and warnings are urging residents to take precautionary measures. Minister of Home Affairs and Information Wilfred Abrahams emphasized the importance of using the remaining time wisely to prepare. In Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves warned that the storm could bring significant rainfall and wind, potentially flooding the capital city, Kingstown.

 

The National Weather Service predicts an above-normal hurricane season, with 17 to 25 named storms, including eight to 13 hurricanes, of which four to seven could be major hurricanes. This prediction is based on near-record warm ocean temperatures in the Atlantic, development of La Niña conditions, reduced Atlantic trade winds, and less wind shear—all factors that favor tropical storm formation.

 

As Beryl continues to move westward, communities in its path are bracing for its impact, preparing for what could be a harbinger of an active and intense hurricane season.


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CRN News Update - Latest Breaking News: Hurricane Beryl Strengthens to Catastrophic Category 4, Threatens Caribbean
Hurricane Beryl Strengthens to Catastrophic Category 4, Threatens Caribbean
Hurricane Beryl intensifies to Category 4, posing a catastrophic threat to the Caribbean. Stay informed on its impact and safety measures
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